¨We don´t cry for men, we cry for Jiu Jitsu¨ Marcy

Monday, October 24, 2011


Last Wednesday after a 11-12 hour bus ride from Cartegena, I finally made it to Medellin.What a beautiful ride it was through the mountains for hours upon hours of gorgeous, never-ending scenery. Reminder to anyone traveling by bus through South America...BRING WARM CLOTHES FOR THE BUS. It is soooooo cold I didn`t even know what to do with myself. I got off the bus and made my way to the Metro which was a lot of fun to ride! It´s like a Harry Potter ride hahaha..it never gets old.
I arrived at Gracie Barra Medellin Wednesday night where I was more or less ready to train! I was stiff from the 8-9 days I spent in total on the sailboat and long bus ride. Carlos Barreto from Panama opened the doors to his academy and wow! I have been having such a blast with those guys it´s awesome. Everyone´s always got a smile on their face and Carlos is quite the character! I´m still not through with the guys yet..but I´ve been training a lot and continuing with the learning process. Danny-a training partner of mine went over the 5 points of cross side with me, something Christian Graugart had taught them all in a seminar. I learned a great pass from half guard Crane Pass I could use in the future against all sizes of opponents but for me I see the most success while training with larger opponent´s as I have a bit more space to balance on :)

In general here in Medellin, the training is great because I am about 5,000 feet above sea level and giving my lungs a great workout. I definitely do not feel like I´ve have the BOOM BANG energy when I train, but my cardio is slowly getting there. I´ve been eating really clean, cooking every meal from cinnamon banana oatmeal for breakfast, lowfat plain natural yogurt for a snack, apples, chicken soup that helps me remember great dinners at Deb´s in Costa Rica!! Chicken, loadddds of vegetables, milk and water. I´ve done my best to stay away from drinking and sugar;sugar for me has always been the killer. I am really feeling great lately, paired with great energy at GB Medellin. There are always a few tips here and there from everyone I meet.

The other night we trained some NoGi where I was lucky enough to have Maria Arango . She recently won her division here in Medellin, her first competition and hopefully not the last, keep it up girl!...Congratulations to all the competitors whether they brought home some hardware or not!

Important things for me to remember:
  • Ask yourself ..How will this exercise or workout help my game? -Carlos Barreto
  • SHRIMP INTO THE PERSON NOT AWAY!Don´t give up your back. That´s the very last option.
  • Don´t stop moving...ever.
  • Pace yourself, breath, relax, think about what you´re doing.
  • Something Carlos reminded me of that I remember my instructor Ariel Sexton (CR)saying- Attack your opponent, it doesn´t even matter if you can finish or not, the point is..it´s a distraction and you will free some space up while the other person is one step behind you. It´s like a game of chess.
  • Try Blind Jitsu more often!!
  • When putting someone in a triangle literally think about trying for the angle...you should be able to whisper ¨goodnight¨or ¨shh shhh shhhh¨ in your opponent´s ear! 
  • Homework- let people pass my guard and recover from cross side
Carlos introduced me to a new style of training...blind folded. I could feel the movements, feel where he was to stay close-sticking to him like glue. I became more aggressive, attacking, feeling more confident about my base. I was a little nauseous at first but it passed.

Passing through Medellin, Colombia is a must. It´s a beautiful city with wonderful people, great views and awesome training! There will be more updates after I´ve finished my time here in Medellin for sure..with more photos to come.


Gracie Barra Colombia- Brown Belt Carlos Barreto
Carlos Barreto and me first day training!
Danny and me...failed attempt
Danny, Sebastian and me after rolling
trying for the perfect shot...just not happening haha
Blind Jitsu..so much fun
Feel the flow
Getting started I stuck my finer rightttttt up his little nostril! haha oops!
Brilliant armbar
Beavis and Butthead he..he..heeehe
Trying to lock up a triangle on Danny...just not happening!
 Goofing around
Girls kicking boys ass´s....!!! yess
ya casi!!
Add caption
Priceless...as soon as the camera is about to snap the photo I fall and land into moonshine position...
heart shaped butt and all!! hahaha
Thanks for training guys!
Maria and me

Me and Mary

take downs

Overall my time was amazing with Gracie Barra Team in Medellin. I wasn´t feeling my best energetically during the 2 weeks but they continued to support and push me to continue. From training, watching endless ADCC clips and laughing/bonding with everyone I just have to say thank you for the great memories. Hope to see you all again someday!

Panama to Colombia

There were so many different options on how I could get to Colombia that it became a bit overwhelming. I eventually went decided to Sail from Portabelo, Panama to Cartegena, Colombia and what a beautiful experience that was. It might be a while until I get my hands on the photos from some of the girls who sailed with me. Stopping off on the east of the Panamanian Canal in San Blas Islands (378 Islands) for 3 days for some INCREDIBLE snorkling was one of the highlights of the sailing experience. We left on a Monday night; possibly the 10th of October if I remember correctly and it was a FULL MOON! We set out to sea around 9pm and it was a spectacular sight to see. I wanted to sail to Colombia as opposed to flying or boating from place to place because it was a new experience to have. I finally had time to myself at sea to just relax, to calm myself and reflex on my life. I spent about 6 days more or less keeping to myself, writing in my journal, listening to music, cooking, swimming from boat to shore for exercise, snorkling for hours rain or shine, sitting at the bow of the boat watches as we crashed through the waves, visiting with the Kuna Indians on the many islands and seeing how beautiful their communities are. One night there was a storm and the lightning was simply insane. For those of you who know me well...you´ll know I am terrified of thunderstorms. Well, I`ve gotten a lot better since living in Costa Rica because it was ALWAYS raining in the city haha. I will admit, after about 5 minutes watching us get closer and closer to that lightning I just couldn`t handle it anymore and I ran below deck, put my ipod on full blast and burried myself in the sheets hahahaa; just hoping I wouldn´t hear any thunder to really set me off! A part of me might have thought we were going down hahaha. I wrote a hilarious journal entry that night praying to the universe to protect us haha, my imagination is just a little to much for me to handle sometimes.

I arrived in Cartagena on a Saturday where I toured around the city, enjoyed my first Colombian beer and coffee-a first priority in each country I visit!

By Sunday I was on my way to Santa Marta with the Captain from the sailboat (by bus)
Had a wonderful day swimming with Dolphins, snorkling with them, sleeping over night at an aquarium where I met an incredibly hospitable man named Luis! He offered us a few hammocks in his place instead of a tile floor so I was really happy about that! Delicious dinner- tuna, avocado tomato salad, chocolate for dessert..followed by a few bottles of Argentina and Chilean red wine.. by the end of the night I had one leg out of the hammock to make sure I kept myself in order! 

One of the many Islands in San -stolen photo
What I can say now....
I have never EVER been happier than I have been in these last 7.5 months. I am so thankful I took this opportunity and risk to travel. I am growing each day; on my own and from the people I meet along the way. Of course, with the occasional reminder.. I left a lot of unfinished business back in Canada as far as school, debts and work goes, but it´s not going anywhere...and the more time passes, the older I will get. This trip is a life changing experience and I believe it has been the start of amazing opportunities in my life and will continue once returning to my beauties back in Canada! You only live once, and although you may have big dreams it starts with a step a friend once told me...WRITE IT DOWN! Don´t just dream it, live it, breath it..ask yourself HOW, WHY, WHEN..and create plan A, B, C to Z if you have too. If you saw the amount of paper I went through this past year you´d slap yourself upside the head. 

Anything...ANYTHING is possible IF you put your mind, body, soul into it.

Cartagena, Colombia (stolen photo)
I steal some photos here and there because my camera was stolen earlier on in my trip..before I could really even use it actually. I have a little digital piece of crap I use here and there but it just doesn´t do anything justice. I write about all the beautiful things I see because I am better with a pen then a lense.
First night on the sailboat in my cabin
San Blas Islands
Kuna Village

5 Swiss, 2 Americans and a Canadian-Bocas Del Toro, Panama.

A little while back during my travels, I had to make a stop in Panama to update my visa. After crossing the boarder I remember waiting for what seemed to be forever for more people to show up. Then of course.. the boys started walking down the stairs haha. 5 guys from Switzerland 2 Americans and me heading to Bocas. I remember saying something along the lines of.. ¨well this is a pretty lucky day for me boys!¨(of course) just as they were entering the van. We all had an instant connection and decided to stick together for the time we had there. What an amazing weekend that will stay with me forever! It was such a great group,  always laughing, figuring out what adventure we could go on, jumping from island to island trying to catch some waves surfing, intense sand wars, rather interesting snorkling experiences or partying in Aqua lounge by night time always including each other. It really felt like a big family, my brothers!! Hopefully we´ll cross pathes one day in the future for round 2! Thank you guys for such a wondeful weekend again.

Let us begin 
Thank you all

Great night out


Aqua Lounge
Start of a very messy sand war
Deep in it

Finishing touches

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Note to the Women of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu...
Along the way of my travels I would really love to bring some more awareness to women about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and even Muay Thai. What they have both done for my life far exceeds the bars of any other sport or hobby I´ve ever pursued. Confidence, happiness, conditioning, comfortability. My advice to women who are training BJJ or thinking about it and may have hesitations is to go for it. Hop in with the guys they will take care of you. All of my training partners have always taken care of me, we are like family. I have always felt like a sister to the guys and girls I´ve trained with in the past 3 years. If you come across some partners you don´t like rolling with or you don´t feel safe with, say NO. It´s as simple as that. Try not to limit yourself to only training with other women. Some excuses I give range from the following..

Sorry I´m tired...
Maybe later...
Nah I´m good maybe another day..
I´m just not feeling up to it...
I can´t be killed right now I´m already dead..
No thank...
NO no no no NO nono...I really don´t have an issue saying no. And for my training partners in the past the present and the future..if I have said no to you, it was probably because I literally was dying, and I believe those of you know what I mean. Don´t take it to heart.

I really like to challenge myself by training with all shapes, sizes and belt ranges. The thing about fighting with men is, in the end you´ll be thanking them for making you have such great technique. Really it´s true I´ve been beaten up, crushed, squashed, had bloody noses, lips, face, bruises on every part of my body, swollen ears, heard things crack in my body I didn´t think could crack..AND although maybe no ones ever seen me cry while fighting, I can assure you I have cried in the changeroom after being killed for hours. Emotionally sometimes, not often I´ve just felt like I can´t physically go on, and people will not give you a pitty party NOR should you ever want or expect one. The point is, that while you´re being killed, you cannot rely on strength, you´ve got to constantly be ON YOUR GAME an technical, otherwise you will be on your back waiting for the moment when you tap. Jiu Jitsu is a rough sport, you´ve gotta keep your chin up and smile when your getting your ass handed to you on a plate. I have learned to smile and BREATH over time because I see how wonderful the rewards are. I´ve also learned how to communicate through my practice of BJJ..I was chatty to begin with but if you have injuries girls, or guys, or have any fears, communicate with your partner. We are here to play, to learn, to train and to grow. Final word to the girls, just try...you CAN do it, just be patient with yourself and trust others.

GRACIE BARRA PANAMA- HECTOR VASQUEZ- In Panamá I was lucky enough to make it to three different Jiu Jitsu Academies. Bright and early Monday morning I headed to Gracie Barra Panama where Black Belt Hector Vasquez welcomed me with open arms. I started the day off with a women´s class; some self defense from a head lock which was actually really amazing to learn for practical scenerios.Thank you so much for welcoming me to your academy, it was an honor to roll with you. I will be back and hopefully have some more fight left in me for round 2!!

FELIPE CARVALHO and me did some hard training along with training partner Michael Castillo. Starting with a warm up which killed me..of course in a good way we moved to some drills escaping from half guard. I have a lot to work on from the bottom but on top I feel strong, I´ve been practicing with my balance and overall flow and the results again have been rewarding. We worked on a few different ways of passing the guard..smash pass, spreading your partner out leaving them no option but to let you pass, its amazing. It was a great addition from where I left off with Javier in Costa Rica months ago.

Michael, Felipe, Me, Alex after a dozen challenging drills.

Located right near the Ocean for a great view in Panama City, Panama.
Gracias por todos Profesores! Nos Vemos

Guys, get your girlfriends, wives, friends out to try some BJJ. Girls- get your boyfriends and husbands and friends involved..at least give your partners a fighting chance here. :)

On the road to Panama

My life coach and dear friend Clint. Always thinking of you..

Saying goodbye to Costa Rica wasn´t easy by any means. The people I met, the places I visited, the transition I made. I really feel like a mujercita..a little woman! Many of the friends I made became like family members to me. I only planned on staying in Costa Rica for maximum 3 months but the longer time went on the more I came to know about going with the flow. I went more with my emotions than anything. A few signs that I knew I was ready was after a wonderful dinner with some close friends in Cocles at Clint´s place with Kristin, Alex, Deb, it was the night before I had to leave CR-my visa was up. I spent the night there and woke up thinking about what outfit I´d put on for my travels. I chose a bright yellow tank top, one I took from Marcy-sorry i´ll give it back!! It was very ironic because Clint read an article someone had just posted that morning and he said I should come and take a look at it. The title was... YELLOW. It spoke about how the colour helps strengthen the nerves and the mind. It helps awaken mental inspiration and stimulates higher mentality. Gives lust for life. What a powerful sign for me to leave with. It filled my heart with warmth and confidence that I would be okay no matter what happened down the road. I felt as solid as a rock.
Taking off to Panama, I crossed the border at Changuinola where you walk along this bridge for about 10 minutes feeling like you´re going to break through the boards and plumit into the water at any moment. Passing through immigrations was easy, then came a taxi to a bus station where I started on the road towards David. Being the smaller in the lineup of people, the doorman picked me out of the lineup and showed me to my seat. Directly beside the driver, sitting ontop of the motor which was covered by layers of plastic seating, I had a little towel to under my humid body to keep from burning up. The only awkward part of that bus ride of 5 hours was that I was facing the rest of the people who were looking forwards haha. I was the only one looking in the opposite direction. I had to backing to a seat, my seat wasn´t even a seat it was for papers, books, bags whatever, not me! It was after about 2 hours I decided to turn around, pop my feet on the dashboard and feel slightly more comfortable. All this time I had the hugest sunburn on my entire body from surfing the day before taking this trip with no sunscreen for at least 3 hours. That portion of the bus ride was beautiful, seeing all of the mountains and the sunsetting. 

Once arriving in David there was no bus until 10:30 at night. It was only 8:30 and it took 1 minute for me to decide I wasn´t about to wait outside alone with all my stuff for 2 hours. I did what I natually do, I followed two local Panamaians who I had been talking with on the previous bus. A Husband and his wife, I tagged along where we waited for a random bus on the street corner a few blocks from the terminal. I sat ontop of a high stool holding onto railings for 2.5 hours watching a little bow wow movie. Now out of ALL the buses I´ve taken in my time here traveling for 6.5 months, a bus has never broken down.  I´m sure everyone can guess what happened...the bus..it broke down in the middle of NO WHERE at who knows what time. There was about a 6 hour gap I missed out on; not having a watch, cell phone or computer doesn´t really help either. I arrived at a hostel at 5:00am on a Saturday...I left Costa Rica at 11:45 Friday morning. 
Changuinola, Panama Border Crossing.(stolen picture) without wire proctection on the sides.

While I relaxed for 2 days in Panama, a really good friend of mine told me he was coming to Panama City as well for business and he´d put my name on a room at the Hotel he was staying at. Holy Shit....I mean there were no words for me at the time when I arrived, let me try and paint a little picture with a jounral entry I wrote just after my arrival.

*Holy Fucking Shit*
Bleech blond hair with dark roots and unwashed hair paired with a honey glow and various shades of red, brown and golden skin peeling from my frekeled nose. Bright yellow tank, scrunched together in the back for a ¨tighter look¨ haha Green skirt cut at the bottom and freying. Chipped nail polish on my hands with dirt under my nails. Legs with mosquito bites scars and scabs on my ankles. Flip flops so dirty they were peeling and the grey was turning a sort of brown. I had JUST arrived from training for 1.5 hours. The lobby crew took all of my bags for me and walked me to the reception. I checked in where for the rest of the week Julio was my pretend husband..haha Julio Clifford it read on all the papers. An employee took me up to floor 24 where I almost puked looking out the glass elevator. He showed me my room and once again my mouth dropped...speechless. It took about 30 seconds after the door closed for me to invent a celebration dance in the nude. I drew myself a bath, connected my ipod to the speakers, then had a shower, made a delicious cup of coffee and put a soft white robe on. I felt like a million bucks. I blasted a song called ¨This Time¨ (Klaus song) and started danving and jumping on the huge bed smiling in extasy.  I had my very own Blue Crush moment.

I had the pleasure of spending an entire week with one of my best friends from Cosa Rica in Panama City. Julio I still cannot thank you enough for such an awesome week. We ate too much chocolate, drank too much wine, ate too much delicious food and endless conversasions. The funniest night was when we had passed out after a few glasses of wine and were abruptly awoken by the sound of an alarm. EEEEE EEEEEEEE EEEEEE ¨This is an emergency, please exit the building immediately¨ we were stumbling around trying to think clearly but it was obvious we were just way to relaxed to handle an emergency at this moment. All I grabbed was my passport and I was set. Julio was putting on running shoes, grabbing his computer and other things hahaha I was opening the door saying ¨Julio common let´s get out of here WHAT ARE YOU DOING!¨ And he was just taking his sweet time. The moment was priceless. Finally we get to the stairs and another announcement came on telling us it was a false alarm, so we watched and laughed as all the people who had already left the building walked and ran down 20 flights of stairs. The last killer of the night was Julio´s final words before dozing off. ¨If it´s really an emergency shouldn´t they say something like ´GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE YOU´RE GONNA DIE!!!´¨hahahahaha I was dying literally losing it after hearing him say this.
Ocean Trump -The only camera I had for a while was a disponsible, so pictures will come much later on once I´m back in Canada.
Some other photos from Costa Rica along the way..
Lora, Heather, Chocolate, me and beth!!  

fit as shit jajaja te extrano lao!

Deb, me, Anna, Heather and Punk!!

Mis amores Beto, Deb y Julio papi!

Learning Costa Rican Cumbia with Pamela

Punta Uva swing

the gang anna, punk, deb and me

crazy hawiian and the skinniest gorda around my love..karol!
gracias a Taco en Costa Rica 506 my first tattoo!

Mis hermanas Karol, Hailee y Marcy.